The Harbor Lights condominium complex is seen from the sky on May 19. Mayor Michael Victorino said on Thursday that a COVID cluster in the complex had grown to at least 30 cases. Victorino also announced tighter restrictions on restaurants and bars on Thursday in a bid to quell an increase in cases of the virus in Maui. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The number of COVID-19 cases at the Harbor Lights condominium complex has risen by at least 30 as Mayor Michael Victorino announced even stricter restrictions on the restaurant and bar industry to curb the recent wave from the island.

The state Department of Health on Thursday reported 26 new cases for the island of Maui, bringing the seven-day moving average to 17.1 cases per day, but more are likely to be pending after the discovery of a cluster of positive cases at Harbor Lights in Kahului after testing by Minit Medical on Thursday, Victorino said.

“This is of great concern and we are trying to do everything possible to clean and sanitize the area, but the residents and management there have told us they don’t want us to come.” he said at a press conference in the county. “So I want everyone to know that we are trying to meet all challenges, but it is very difficult when you have so many in a certain place and they are not willing to work with you. “

Management will reach an agreement with the county on Monday, Victorino said, although he added that he wanted to send a cleaning crew as soon as possible.

Victorino also announced Thursday that the governor had approved the county’s proposal to tighten restrictions on restaurants and bars, including reducing indoor occupancy from 50 to 30 percent and requiring closures by 10 p.m. each evening. . The new rules will go into effect on Saturday at 12:01 am. Food courts, commercial events such as luaus or weddings and other food establishments must also follow the new occupancy rules but must not close before 10 p.m.

Mayor Michael Victorino said Thursday the county is hoping to clean up the Harbor Lights condo complex after recent tests revealed more cases there. Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Costco, grocers and other stores will also work to meet capacity limits, he said.

“All of these holiday celebrations are contributing to a number of these increases here in Maui County,” Victorino said while discouraging house visits for the New Years holidays. “All the science says if we don’t do something right, we’re going to keep seeing the increases.”

The number of people allowed at social gatherings is now reduced from 10 to a maximum of five people outside the same household. The rule applies to outdoor social gatherings like sitting at the beach or having a picnic, for example. Sports, activities and organized events are an exception.

“I always allow sports to continue to participate” said Victorino. “I’m just asking everyone, please be careful. Now more than ever, please wear your mask if you are just sitting there watching the game, keep a physical distance if you are there to watch the game. “

County General Manager Sandy Baz said 2020 was a tough year for everyone, but noted the many ways the community came together to distribute 800,000 pounds of food to those in need. rapid tests, providing farmer assistance programs and rent assistance, starting a business loan program, building temporary shelters and housing and many other initiatives.

“Even though it’s the end of the year, we know it’s not the end of COVID”, Baz added. “We now have three vaccines that were approved this month and have started to roll out. It will take several months for this vaccination program to unfold and be effective in our community. “

This means the county will continue to monitor trends in coronavirus cases and adjust or restrict emergency rules as necessary. “To protect the health and safety of our community”, he said.

Responding to concerns about large gatherings of tourists and residents, as well as unmasked people at places like Front Street, Little Beach, Makena Beach Park, Napili Bay and Kapalua Bay, Victorino said the Maui Police Department and the State Department of Lands and Natural Resources are taking action.

Maui police will warn or summon those who do not follow emergency orders, he said, and “No one gets special treatment. “

“Unfortunately, fist heads are running both among visitors and residents” he added. “I ask everyone to please comply, and I ask for your well-being and the well-being of our community.”

The mayor also expressed some hope for 2021.

“Let’s head into the new year with optimism with the vaccine on the horizon and hope that by the summer at the latest we can all get vaccinated, across the state and nation,” said Victorino.

* Dakota Grossman can be contacted at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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